On Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton condemned an anti-Islam film, calling it “disgusting and reprehensible.”
Clinton and other leaders rejected “Innocence of Muslims” and trailers for the movie, which stirred outrage throughout the Muslim world as protests and violence spread to Yemen. Trailers recently went viral.
A southern Californian Coptic Christian Nakoula Basseley Nakoula has been identified as a key figure behind the anti-Islamic film. Another person linked to the film, Steve Klein, has ties to hate groups and cast and crew said they were “grossly misled” and didn’t know they were making a propaganda film.
“Clinton spoke two days after U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, an attack that analysts said was staged by militants to coincide with a demonstration against the controversial movie,” The Washington Post reported Thursday.
Fla. pastor Terry Jones, who in recent years has called for the burning of Muslims’ sacred book, the Koran, endorsed the film, but he was not ”able to post the short video mocking the Islamic prophet Muhammad” because his organization’s Web site had been hacked, the Miami Herald reported.
General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, asked Jones not to promote the video, Reuters reported.
“Jones said he told Dempsey that he would ‘definitely consider it,’ but later told reporters he would ignore the request during a lengthy interview in the building that once housed his congregation,” the Miami Herald reported.
In a statement released Thursday, Bishop Serapion of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Los Angeles, Southern California and Hawaii, said:
We strongly condemn the brutal murder of the United States ambassador to Libya and three of the embassy employees. In order for peace to reign throughout the world, brutality and hatred must be swiftly condemned and punished.
Hope must be brought to desperate places, kindness and mercy must be given a chance. However, hope will not thrive in the midst of hatred and violence. Therefore, those who are responsible for this brutal act must be brought to justice in order to give hope a chance.
We keep the families of the ambassador and murdered staff in our prayers as well as offering the families our heart felt condolences.
Furthermore, the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Los Angeles, Southern California & Hawaii strongly rejects dragging the respectable Copts of the Diaspora in the latest production of an inflammatory movie about the prophet of Islam. The producers of this movie should be responsible for their actions. The name of our blessed parishioners should not be associated with the efforts of individuals who have ulterior motives.
Copts across the Diaspora never participated in any humiliation or violence against those who often persecute Christians. It is not the Christian way to respond to hatred with hate. Christianity prohibits a Christian from such acts. If burning the Holy Bible is wrong, then burning any book revered or respected by others is equally wrong. Holistically blaming the Copts for the production of this movie is equivalent to holistically blaming Muslims for the actions of a few fanatics. Even though Christians often face persecution, injustice and calls for open attacks over the airwaves, we reject violence in all its forms.
We call on everyone from all religions to respect the freedom of individuals to choose their faith.
May God always bless the United States of America.
A statement from Dr. Laila Bugaighis, chair of the National Protection Against Violence Committee:
We the citizens of Benghazi denounce the barbaric actions of attacking diplomatic delegations of all countries, and above all, those of the countries that stood by us and helped us win our war against the terror of the previous regime.
What happened in Benghazi Tuesday is shamefully horrible, but should not be misinterpreted. There is never an excuse to barbaric action. Those who claim it was stirred by some silly movie that attacks the Prophet of Islam are just trying to find an excuse for selfish violence. Those who think the American Consulate was targeted are also mistaken. Benghazi will never forget what the American Government did for us, and their humanitarian stand with the Libyan people is something that can only inspire gratitude.
Benghazi was the cradle of a revolution against barbarism, violence and abuse. It was a revolution to bring forth dignity, justice, and democracy. Those people who do not want Libya to prosper, and do not want to see democracy, and who are against humanity and civility will keep on committing their acts of injustice and inhumanity to ruin the dreams and achievements of honest Libyans.
Islam does not need any one to defend it. It is a holy religion that brought upon it one of the greatest civilizations that ever existed, and remained for centuries thereafter, and will not be smeared by hateful propaganda, nor should such violent acts be related to Islam, for Islam is a religion that teaches tolerance, humanity, forgiveness and is above all kinds of superficiality.
The government should immediately take strict and serious actions against such barbaric acts, and those who are responsible for security in Benghazi should resign. They failed, not once and not twice, to keep Benghazi safe, and if they remain in their positions Benghazi will be unsafe for its own people, let alone for foreign guests. There is no excuse for violence in our cities any more.
Chris Stevens was a brave man. He remained with us in Benghazi when all others fled during the war, he connected with our people, he did his best to help our civil society prosper and grow, promoting several cultural and educational programs, and he showed us what tolerance means. He certainly did not deserve to die this way, even if no one meant to hurt him personally, the consequence of the action touched him and his family and his friends. Our deepest condolences go to Chris’s family and his friends, and to the families and friends of his fallen countrymen who died in Benghazi.